Holding to Truth

holding to truth in love for the building up of the Body of Christ

Do I Need to Be Baptized to Be Saved?

Why do I need to be baptized?

Now that you have believed in the Lord Jesus to receive God’s eternal life, you might be asking “Do I  also need to be baptized to be saved?”

Yes, you need to be baptized to be saved.  But, it’s crucial to understand the meaning of “being saved.” It may not be what you think…so read on.

“Being saved” is like walking with two legs. Believing in Christ is one leg and being baptized is the other. To  complete your initial step into God’s kingdom you need both.

If you only believe, but don’t get baptized, it’s like leaving one foot in Satan’s kingdom. Your experience of God’s salvation is still lacking.

In this post we’ll consider why you need to be baptized to be saved…and to be saved from what.

“He who believes and is baptized shall be saved…”—Mark 16:16

Let’s take a look at what the Bible says in Mark 16:16,

“He who believes and is baptized shall be saved, but he who does not believe shall be condemned.”

First, we need to be clear on what it means to “be saved.” Many people think that whenever the Bible speaks about “salvation” or of “being saved” it’s automatically referring to being saved from hell or the lake of fire. But salvation in Mark 16:16 includes more than that.

“Being saved” involves being delivered from the world

Believing is enough to save us from God’s condemnation, His eternal judgment (v. 16b). But to “be saved” here requires something more. It requires baptism. This is similar to Peter’s word in Acts 2:40 where he said,

 Be saved from this crooked generation.”

 To “be saved from this crooked generation” was to be separated from a corporate people, that Jewish society,  that had just crucified the Lord Jesus not more than 50 days prior. What was the way for those believers to be saved from that crooked generation? Baptism. The following verse confirms this by saying,

 Those who received his word were baptized, and there were added in that day about three thousand souls.” (v. 41)

“Being Saved” is your coming out of the world

An excellent picture of how baptism saves you is Israel’s being “saved” from Egypt (signifying the world) by their exodus from Egypt and crossing the Red Sea (Exo 13-14).

Israel was in slavery to Egypt for over 400 years. God wanted to bring them out to be a holy people for Himself. They could not serve God while remaining in Egypt.

God sent Moses to tell Pharaoh to let His people go (Exo. 6:11). Although Pharaoh resisted, after twelve conflicts, including ten plagues, he was compelled to let them go.

But how did they come out? On the night of the Passover, they applied the blood and ate the lamb (signifying our receiving Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God, our Redeemer and Savior).

But that wasn’t all. God required that they get out of Egypt—to be saved from the tyranny of Pharaoh (signifying Satan, the ruler of the world–John 12:31) to come out of the world to fulfill God’s purpose.

You need to be baptized to be freed from the world that occupies you

How does God free you from the world?  It’s through the waters of baptism.

See the picture. God led Israel by the way of the Red Sea (signifying the waters of baptism). God parted the waters of the Red Sea and they passed through on dry land.  That signifies our passing through the waters of baptism to be freed from the world (1 Cor. 10:1-2).

When they had safely reached the other side, God caused the waters to come together again. Those waters, on the one hand, buried Pharaoh’s army, and on the other hand, separated Israel from Egypt—the world. They were freed from Egypt to worship and serve God.

It is in this same way that baptism frees us from the world today. Do you realize that God also wants to save you from the world that usurps your time, energy and heart, and that holds you back from following Him?

Many things in your life may be occupying you and keeping you from enjoying and serving the Lord.

Your receiving the Lord Jesus as your Savior is like Israel’s celebrating the Passover in Egypt.

By applying the blood  on the “doorposts” of your house (by declaring your faith in His blood, His redeeming death for you–Exo. 12:7; Rom. 3:25) and by eating the roasted lamb inside your house (received Christ into you–v. 8; John 6:53-54), you were saved from God’s judgment.

You may be spared from God’s condemnation—the lake of fire—yet, still remain in Egypt (in the world), under Pharaoh’s tyranny (Satan’s authority of darkness).

You need to cross the Red Sea. You need to be baptized.

Please pray,

Lord Jesus, I believe into You as my Savior and life. Thank you for saving me from your eternal judgment and giving me Your eternal life.  

Now I want to complete the second part of the step by being saved from the world that rejects You and occupies me.

Lord, grant me a dynamic transfer, an effective baptism, that frees me from the world’s hold on my life and makes me one with You to fulfill God’s purpose on this earth.”

Being baptized  is for fulfilling God’s purpose

Ultimately, God desires a holy people for Himself who can become His dwelling place on this earth (Eph 2:21-22).  It is only by being separated unto God through believing and being baptized that we can meet His need  today and have the position to be built up as His spiritual house, the church (1 Pet. 2:5).

If you’ve been helped with any point in this post, please take a moment to respond in a short comment.

References and Further Reading:


About Tom Smith

Hi. My name is Tom Smith. I'm the writer behind Holding to Truth in Love, and I love the Lord Jesus and His life-giving Word. Please feel free to send me an e-mail through the contact page if you have any questions. I hope you'd take a moment to subscribe to the Holding to Truth blog. Then you'll be sure not to miss a post. Thanks!

14 Replies

  1. Beatriz

    If someone was baptized but is still enjoying the things of this world, does it mean that his/her baptism was not genuine?

    1. Tom Smith

      If someone is still enjoying the things of the world it doesn’t necessarily mean that their baptism was not genuine. The reality of baptism, just like the reality of Christ’s death and resurrection, are only ours in the Spirit of reality. When we’re not living and walking according to the Spirit with our spirit, the fact of our baptism remains, but our experience will be lacking.

      We need to come back to enjoy fellowship with the Lord who lives in us. The more we enjoy Him and are filled with Him, the less ground the world will have in our hearts. As we are in fellowship with Him, the Lord may touch us concerning certain aspects of the world. Then according to His leading we may confess them to Him so that He may have the ground in us to deal with them.

      In The Experience of Life, Chapter 5 on, Dealing with the World, Witness Lee covers this truth in more detail. You can also read it freely at: http://www.ministrybooks.org/books.cfm

      1. True, the Spirit is the key. Baptism separates us from the world but 1 John 2 still exhorts believers not to love the world. This exhortation shows that we cannot merely rest in having been baptized. Rather, we should experience the anointing, the moving of the Spirit in us, (later in 1 John 2) that we may abide/live in Christ. Without the reality of the Spirit, we are like Israel in the wilderness – saved out of Egypt but longing to go back.

  2. Jofe

    If someone was baptized by a priest or a pastor from any other religions, does it mean that their baptism not genuine?

    And if you were baptized through catholic church way of baptism or any other religions and now you realized that you are in the wrong place (religions) and now you are in the true Church, will that person have to be baptized again?

    1. Tom Smith

      The basis for a genuine and effective baptism is the operation of God through faith (Col. 2:12). If you were baptized previously and there wasn’t the operation of God to deliver you out of Satan’s authority of darkness and transfer us into the kingdom of the Son of God’s love (1:12-13), then you really don’t have the reality of baptism.

      This is not a decision that someone else can make for you. It’s the subjective realization that you and every believer has in their spirit. If you have the conviction of the Spirit in your spirit that you need to be baptized to enter into the reality of baptism, then you need to follow the Lord’s leading.

      You may want to consider the following questions in your fellowship with the Lord,
      1. Did I really believe into the Lord Jesus as the base for my being baptized? (Mark 16:16)
      2. Did my experience of baptism break the stronghold of Satan in my life? (Exo 14; Col. 1:13)
      3. Did my baptism separate me from the world unto God for His purpose? (Exo. 15:1-13)
      4. Did my baptism identify me with Christ in His death and resurrection? (Rom 6:3-5)
      5. Did my baptism usher me into the reality of the one Body of Christ? (1 Cor. 12:13)

      If you can’t give a confirming answer to these five questions, you may want to ask the Lord to give you such an experience of baptism that will bring you into such a reality as the solid base for your Christian life.

    2. Kevin Lee Poracan

      Hi there Jofe, anyone who believes in the Lord Jesus and only those who believe with all their hearts. Moreover, faith and faith alone precedes baptism; nothing less than faith is acceptable and nothing faith is necessary. We must exercise our faith to receive all the spiritual realities of baptism. Praise the Lord!

  3. Kevin Lee Poracan

    What is a baptismal regeneration?

  4. Kevin Lee Poracan

    Baptism delivers us from Satan and his worldly power, just as the crossing of the red sea delivered the children of Israel from the evil power of Pharaoh and Egypt’s tyranny. Although the children of Israel applied the blood of the Passover lamb and were saved from God’s judgment, they still had to cross the red sea for deliverance. Likewise, although we had received the Lord’s redemption through His shed blood and have been saved from God’s judgment, we still need to be baptized so that we may be delivered from the usurpation of Satan and the world.

    Water is the means of salvation (1 Pet. 3:20-21). The words “brought safely through by water. Which water, as the antitype, also now saves you, that is baptism,” indicate that water was the means of salvation by the ark to separate Noah and his family from the corrupted generation and brought them into the new age.
    Typified by the water through which Noah and his family passed.
    The Bible tells us that Noah’s household of eight, passing through the flood in the ark was a type of baptism. Water baptism separates us, those who have entered into Christ as the ark by faith from the world in which we formerly lived so that we may be delivered from this crooked and perverted generation and be brought into a new realm of resurrection in the new creation.

    1. Tom Smith

      That’s right. The reality of baptism delivers us from Satan and his worldly power. We may be saved by faith inwardly from eternal perdition but still not be practically saved from Satan’s world system. Although we may spend eternity with the Lord, our usefulness to the Lord today for the building of His house may be frustrated. Every believer needs such a “Red Sea crossing” to be delivered from the world that enslaves them.

      The illustration of the flood waters in the days of Noah is also an excellent type, a picture showing how baptism separates us from the God forsaking world and bringing us into a new realm in resurrection where we can serve God. Thanks for the confirming points.

      1. Kevin Lee Poracan

        We were bound in Egypt (the world), building for the foe;
        God of the Hebrews said, “Let My people go!“
        We have crossed the Red Sea (typifies baptism), reached the other side;
        Pharaoh, his army, perished in the tide.
        God of the Hebrews, speak again today;
        God of the Hebrews, lead us all the way.
        Save all Your people from this crooked age,
        Save all Your people from this crooked age.

        Source: http://www.hymnal.net/hymn.php/h/1271#ixzz2koZKueb9

  5. Kevin Lee Poracan

    I am very clear concerning the distinction of a person being saved from eternal perdition through believing in contrast to their being saved from the world through baptism. Christians should know about these two distinctions.

    Watchman Nee’s exposition concerning Baptism, chapter 1, on “Messages For Building up for New Believers” is quite profound, clearing up this matter. He points out the differences between being saved from perdition and being saved from the world. I would likely to encourage everyone to read his message on Baptism. Then your Christian understanding will be crystallized. Amen.


  6. Kevin Lee Poracan

    I thank the Lord–during all this year I have been trying to study and comprehend what baptism really is. The saints here in my locality explained this matter partially on baptism. They explained that to be baptized is to terminate our old man, be baptized into Christ, into the Triune God, to have put on Christ, and put into the Body of Christ, and so on. Then I asked them what does it mean to be saved according to Mark 16:16. The scripture clearly shows that to be saved through baptism is to be saved from this crooked generation (Acts 2:40-41).

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